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by Jason Gross

10 Feb 2009

It looks like Live Nation’s great experiment with independence lasted only a few weeks, when they went from Ticketmater competitor to getting in bed with TM.  Of course, both companies are trying to spin their merger as a boom for all of us music fans, if you wanna believe this CNN article:

The companies said the merger will help improve “access and transparency” by combining artist, promoter and ticketing under one banner. It will also enable more “innovative and dynamic” promotion arrangements, which will create more choice and “a more fan-friendly purchasing experience.”

By joining forces, the companies said they will be able to develop new technologies that will benefit consumers.

The merger will also create opportunities to improve attendance at events, the companies said, which will be a boon for concert venues and support a healthier live entertainment industry.

Yeah, right…  What are those consumer-friendly technologies?  Fan-friendly too?  Boy, they’re pouring it on thick. 

If you’d like the real deal, read Jim DeRogatis’ take on the merger.  This is gonna be a real test of Obama’s Justice Dept and whether or not they let an obvious monopoly take over the ticket biz, kill off their competition and zoom up the prices for consumers.




by Jennifer Kelly

10 Feb 2009

They may not be the most famous male-female roots rock duo in the world, but Dex Romweber and his sister Sara were pounding out stripped down blues and manic rockabilly when Jack and Meg were in middle school. Jack White has, in fact, publicly acknowledged Romweber as “a huge influence” calling “his songwriting, along with his love of classic American music from the south, be it rockabilly, country or R&B… one of the best kept secrets of the rock ‘n’ roll underground”. The two Romwebers—note they are actually brother and sister—have a new album out on Bloodshot on February 10th, called Ruins of Berlin. Three of its tracks are duets with a-list alt.twangers Neko Case, Exene Cervenka and Cat Powers, but the rest is just family, plus Southern Culture on the Skids’ Rick Miller. That’s the team for “Picture of You”, a heel-rocking, old-time strut through Eddie Cochrane territory, and “Lookout” whose bluegrassy licks might just catch fire from all the friction.

Dex Romweber Duo
“Picture of You” [MP3]

“Lookout” [MP3]

by Robert Celli

10 Feb 2009

Will the myth hold true as merger between giants is announced?

Will the myth hold true as merger between giants is announced?

Woke up this morning to this potentially game changing news in the concert promotion industry. Ticketmaster and Live Nation have announced plans to merge. In a Financial story appearing this morning, Michael Rapino, CEO of Live Nation and the proposed CEO of the merged group, said the combination would produce “measurable benefits to consumers”, noting that “current inefficiencies in the system result in higher costs and confusion over access to seats”. 

These two giants in the concert promotion industry could potentially have a stranglehold on venues, artists, and ticket buyers. According to the piece there are still a lot of particulars to work out but it will be interesting to see how this plays out.

A recent conversation I had with a source in the concert promotion industry, said advance ticket sales for premium seats at venues are sagging considerably. Perhaps this merger is designed to shore up ticket sales in a bad economy. Will this also mean an increase in 360 deals, a trend started by Live Nation. I’m sure much more will be written about this in the coming months.

by Sarah Zupko

10 Feb 2009

Hot Panda, a new Canadian pop band, releases their debut today on Mint Records. Entitled Volcano… Bloody Volcano, it’s a dose of off-kilter, spastic pop. Case in point, check out “Cold Hands, Chapped Lips”. The boys have four SXSW appearances lined up so far (dates and times below).

Hot Panda
“Cold Hands, Chapped Lips” [MP3] from Volcano… Bloody Volcano [10 February]

March 18, 3 pm - Beauty Bar (Breakthru Radio Party)
March 19, 3 pm - Headhunters (Mint/Venus Magazine BBQ)
March 19, 4 pm - Room 710 (Pirate Promotions party)
March 21, 8 pm - Habanna Calle 6 (Mint Records Showcase)

by PopMatters Staff

10 Feb 2009

Scottish twee-poppers Camera Obscura release their latest album My Maudlin Career in the US on the 21 of April. Those on the other side of the pond can pick it up on April 20th. The band is offering a free download of “My Maudlin Career”, yep same name as the album. This is just a taster though as the first single will be “French Navy”, releasing in April as well.

Camera Obscura
“My Maudlin Career” [MP3]

//Mixed media

Because Blood Is Drama: Considering Carnage in Video Games and Other Media

// Moving Pixels

"It's easy to dismiss blood and violence as salacious without considering why it is there, what its context is, and what it might communicate.

READ the article